Copper treatment

Humblefish

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Copper treatment

What It Treats
Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) and Marine Velvet Disease (Amyloodinium ocellatum). There is some anecdotal evidence that copper will suppress symptoms of Brooklynella hostilis and Uronema marinum; however it is unlikely to completely eradicate either.

How To Treat – First, it is important to know what kind of copper you are using. Below is a list of the most commonly available copper products, their therapeutic ranges and compatible copper test kit(s):
  • Cuprion (0.20 ppm): Seachem or Salifert copper test kit
  • Cupramine (0.5 ppm): Seachem or Salifert copper test kit
  • Coppersafe (1.5 – 2.0 ppm): API copper test kit
  • Kordon Copper Aid (1.5 – 2.0 ppm): API copper test kit (Avoid this brand of copper; it’s too watered down)
  • Copper Power (1.5 – 2.0 ppm): API copper test kit
In addition to the aforementioned hobbyist grade test kits, the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702) is a highly accurate “professional grade” test kit capable of reading all forms of copper: https://hannainst.com/hi702-copper-hr.html

** (I personally use Copper Power + Hanna copper colorimeter, and treat at 2.0 ppm.) **

How long to use copper on a fish depends upon whether you have 1 or 2 quarantine tanks to work with. If just 1 QT, treat for 30 consecutive days. The reason this approach takes so long is because copper only targets the “free swimming stage”. While 7-14 days is the “norm” to reach this stage, certain strains of Marine Ich have a prolonged life cycle. Indeed, even 30 days may not be sufficient in some rare cases. This is why it is so important to observe after treatment ends, to ensure symptoms do not return.

A therapeutic level must be maintained at all times during the 30 days, so testing often is important. If the level drops even slightly out of range, then the 30 day clock restarts. One reason your copper level may drop unexpectedly is if you are treating in a tank with rock and substrate; these should be avoided with copper due to absorption. Conversely, if you exceed the therapeutic range you risk killing the fish.

Copper is a poison, pure and simple. It only works because most fish are able to withstand being in it longer than the parasites. Knowing this, some feel it is wise to raise the copper level very slowly (over 5-7 days) instead of the usual 24-48 hour label directions. However, I have had the best success dropping fish into QTs predosed with Copper Power @ 1.0ppm, and then take 48 hours to reach minimum therapeutic (1.5 ppm). I then take another 48 hours to achieve 2.0 ppm, which is my “sweet spot” for using chelated copper. These increases in copper are done very gradually, dosing the QT multiple times per day.

So, what if I have TWO quarantine tanks to work with? Well, in that case you only need to treat with copper for 14 DAYS and then transfer the fish into QT#2. Provided the following:
  1. Copper level must be at FULL THERAPEUTIC for the entire 14 days (very important).
  2. Nothing from QT#1 can be reused to setup QT#2. Transfer just the fish; nothing else!
  3. The two QTs must be at least 10 feet apart, to avoid any possibility of aerosol transmission. Also be careful to avoid cross contamination via wet hands, feeding apparatus, anything wet really…
  4. Do not lower the copper level prior to transferring. QT#2 should be copper free, so you can observe to ensure treatment was successful. You can, however, treat with other medications (e.g. Prazipro if you need to deworm) in QT#2.
The above strategy works because after 14 days any ich or velvet trophonts should have dropped off the fish. The presence of copper in the water shields your fish from reinfection from any unhatched tomonts (which release free swimmers). It’s these unhatched tomonts you want to transfer your fish away from, because some ich tomonts can take up to 72 days to release all of their free swimmers. Thus, understand that QT#1 is still possibly contaminated with ich and/or velvet tomonts (plus any other diseases the fish was carrying) even after all the fish have been transferred out. Which is why sterilizing QT#1 in-between batches of fish is a good idea.

Pros – Readily available.

Cons/Side Effects – Appetite suppression and lethargy are common side effects. If a fish stops eating completely, perform water changes (to lower the copper concentration) until he eats. If this happens a second time after you resume raising the copper, you’ll know you’ve encountered a “copper sensitive” fish and an alternative treatment should be used instead. (Note: Anytime you lower the copper level below therapeutic, the 30 day treatment clock begins anew once the copper is raised back up.)
 
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Humblefish

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  • Some people have difficulty treating with copper because they raise the level too quickly. Knowing this, it is wise to raise your copper level very slowly (over 5-7 days) instead of the usual 24-48 hours recommended on the labels. Some take even longer to reach therapeutic levels and that is certainly a wise course of action (unless dealing with a fast killer such as Marine Velvet Disease.)
  • Almost all fish will show signs of appetite suppression whilst treating with copper. But so long as the fish is eating - even just a little - it will be OK for the 30 day treatment period. Now, if a fish stops eating altogether that's a problem. If this happens, start doing water changes (lowering the copper concentration) until the fish resumes eating. If this happens a second time after you resume raising the copper, you'll know you've encountered a "copper sensitive" fish and an alternative treatment should be used instead.
  • Alternative treatments for ich include: Chloroquine phosphate, tank transfer method, or hyposalinity. The only other treatment for velvet is Chloroquine phosphate. Links to more detailed info on these treatments can be found here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/treatment-options-index.247573/
FYI article: How copper works, and why it sometimes doesn't
 
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melypr1985

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Cuppramine is an Ionic copper and is believed by some to work better than chelated copper. It's also more harsh to use on the fish and care needs to be taken while using it with some species of fish.

Coppersafe/power is a chelated copper and is reported to be much gentler on the fish. It's still copper and can have side effects like lack of appetite and cause difficulty to sensitive species just like ionic copper can do. I've had better luck at the store with chelated copper and have kept many types of fish in it successfully.

It really comes down to what you have access to and will work better for the fish you are running through QT.
 
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Cupramine (ionic copper) is "supposed" to be gentler on fish, but we are figuring out that is not true. Just a slick marketing ploy. The old way (chelated) seems to work better. You also have more wiggle room (therapeutic range) with chelated, and there are even anecdotal accounts of being able to use an ammonia reducer with Coppersafe. I still don't recommend doing that though. ;)
 

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Any idea what the Brightwell brand is? I have some coming in the mail to put in my QT/Hospital tank. Ive had the unfortunate event of a marine velvet outbreak. Had 8 fish prior to the outbreak. Now down to 3.
 
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Cupramine (ionic copper) is "supposed" to be gentler on fish, but we are figuring out that is not true. Just a slick marketing ploy. The old way (chelated) seems to work better. You also have more wiggle room (therapeutic range) with chelated, and there are even anecdotal accounts of being able to use an ammonia reducer with Coppersafe. I still don't recommend doing that though. ;)
Agree entirely
 
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Any idea what the Brightwell brand is? I have some coming in the mail to put in my QT/Hospital tank. Ive had the unfortunate event of a marine velvet outbreak. Had 8 fish prior to the outbreak. Now down to 3.

Probably this: http://brightwellaquatics.com/products/cuprion.php

Purportedly another ionic copper product (like Cupramine); however the therapeutic dosage (0.20 ppm) lines up more with pure copper sulfate. :confused:
 

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Personal, anecdotal experience, but I've found that Cuprion is pretty lethal to fairy wrasses . . . :oops: Was able to treat them with the Kordon "Safe Copper" chelated product.

~Bruce
 

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Along those lines, can anyone confirm what type Kordon's Copper Aid is? I think it's chelated, but I can't find on their website or on the bottle what type it is, and there is no recommendation as to a concentration to maintain. (I bought it because it was what I could get locally in a pinch.)
 

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I too have had trouble with wrasse and cupramine. Lost almost all new halichoeres and a few leopards I tried. I've not tried fairy wrasse, however. I did successfully get three different male bipartus (blue star leopard) wrasses through cupramine at even elevated levels. One of them went through it text for three months each.

Coppersafe will be my new product of choice as it was safer and more effective
 
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Humblefish

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Along those lines, can anyone confirm what type Kordon's Copper Aid is? I think it's chelated, but I can't find on their website or on the bottle what type it is, and there is no recommendation as to a concentration to maintain. (I bought it because it was what I could get locally in a pinch.)

It's chelated (see below), and the dosage instructions suggest (to me) maintaining a therapeutic range in line with Coppersafe. So, 1.5 - 2.0 ppm.
ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Chelated Copper Sulfate

Source: http://www.kordon.com/kordon/products/chemical-preventatives-and-treatments-2/copper-aid
 
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Finally got my leopard wrasse out of the DT and into the QT. Had to take most of the coral and rock out to get him. Now the fallow clock starts. He's the only one who made it thru the marine velvet outbreak. He is not happy at all in the QT. Hiding in a PVC tube. A have a tupperware dish of sand for him to hid in. I was thinking of hold of the copper treatment for several days until he is happy. What do you think Humble fish?
 
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Humblefish

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I was thinking of hold of the copper treatment for several days until he is happy. What do you think Humble fish?

I would slowly start raising copper on him. Is he at least still eating?
 

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I just fed him and yes. He is unhappy with his new surroundings but thats how its gonna be for a while. I have small dish of sand for him to bury in. About a 5x5 inch tupperware container with 2 inches of sand. How much do you think that will effect the copper treatment.
 
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melypr1985

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I just fed him and yes. He is unhappy with his new surroundings but thats how its gonna be for a while. I have small dish of sand for him to bury in. About a 5x5 inch tupperware container with 2 inches of sand. How much do you think that will effect the copper treatment.

In my experience it's been minimal with just a small amount of sand. Plus it helps quite a bit to keep them a little happier when they finally realize it's there.
 
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Humblefish

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I just fed him and yes. He is unhappy with his new surroundings but thats how its gonna be for a while. I have small dish of sand for him to bury in. About a 5x5 inch tupperware container with 2 inches of sand. How much do you think that will effect the copper treatment.

IME; most wrasses are miserable in QT for some reason. It typically takes them the longest to adjust. The important thing is that he keeps eating.

So long as you are testing the Cu level, you should be fine even with a little bit of sand for him.
 

LeonThePeon

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I was looking into how the endgame would be on a copper treatment (as far as how to get the fishes back to a non-copper treatment environment).

I'm currently using Cupramine and I had read their tech support saying "It is usually best to only leave copper in a system for 14 days, or 21 at the most. Leaving copper in a tank for long periods of time may increase the chance that your fish may suffer long-term effects from copper exposure." (#11 http://www.seachem.com/support/foru...on/1398-cupramine-or-paraguard-for-clown-fish)

I'm guessing I should follow the manufacture's instructions - but I was curious as to whether it would be helpful to:
A) Remove all fishes from HT into a bucket/holding tank with matching SG and PH water (or even do a FW dip before intro into the next bucket/holding tank); clean up HT to remove as much copper as possible (vinegar wash necessary?); Put fishes back into now QT with new water (matching SG and PH) and maybe throw something like cuprisorb just for what I may have missed

Or

B) Do a big water change and throw in cuprisorb to absorb copper?

I was just thinking (A) could help remove anything free floating - almost a mini TTM - but would that be too much stress? I'm guessing (B) would be less stress, but you run a bigger chance of reinfection? (Even afte 21 days of Cupramine)

Thoughts?
 
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melypr1985

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I was looking into how the endgame would be on a copper treatment (as far as how to get the fishes back to a non-copper treatment environment).

I'm currently using Cupramine and I had read their tech support saying "It is usually best to only leave copper in a system for 14 days, or 21 at the most. Leaving copper in a tank for long periods of time may increase the chance that your fish may suffer long-term effects from copper exposure." (#11 http://www.seachem.com/support/foru...on/1398-cupramine-or-paraguard-for-clown-fish)

I'm guessing I should follow the manufacture's instructions - but I was curious as to whether it would be helpful to:
A) Remove all fishes from HT into a bucket/holding tank with matching SG and PH water (or even do a FW dip before intro into the next bucket/holding tank); clean up HT to remove as much copper as possible (vinegar wash necessary?); Put fishes back into now QT with new water (matching SG and PH) and maybe throw something like cuprisorb just for what I may have missed

Or

B) Do a big water change and throw in cuprisorb to absorb copper?

I was just thinking (A) could help remove anything free floating - almost a mini TTM - but would that be too much stress? I'm guessing (B) would be less stress, but you run a bigger chance of reinfection? (Even afte 21 days of Cupramine)

Thoughts?

I absolutely recommend 30 days in therapeutic levels of copper before you remove it. If you are able to transfer the fish into another QT (sterile), then you can do that at the 14 day mark, but you need to be able to observe the fish for 2 more weeks before putting them into the display. Transferring them to the new, sterile QT will get them out of the copper right away and is a fine method as long as you can observe them for the next two weeks. Otherwise you can just do water changes and run cupusorb or polyfilters to pull out the copper. This is a fine method as well.
 

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I absolutely recommend 30 days in therapeutic levels of copper before you remove it. If you are able to transfer the fish into another QT (sterile), then you can do that at the 14 day mark, but you need to be able to observe the fish for 2 more weeks before putting them into the display. Transferring them to the new, sterile QT will get them out of the copper right away and is a fine method as long as you can observe them for the next two weeks. Otherwise you can just do water changes and run cupusorb or polyfilters to pull out the copper. This is a fine method as well.
I agree entirely, I have kept fish in copper for nearly 90 days without issue.
 
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